sonja, isaiah, grace, and friend maija on a rock in central park with 'the gates' in the background.
sunday after church we went down to nyc to walk through the new spectacle public art display of christo and his wife, jeanne-claude. the gist of it is a midwinter display of 7500 tall gates with half curtains hanging down on all the walkways of central park. almost as if they are blood running through the veins of the park, and following that image, the gates bring out throngs of people so that the walks are literally full of life. the nytimes had a pretty gushing take.
mako fujimura, an artist who works with our center's faith as a way of life project, said something that caught my attention and helped make sense of part of my experience walking around central park. "the art of the early 21st century may be remembered for its collective move from inside of the studio to the outside. andy goldworthy, in his 'rivers and tides' documentary recounts how he began to create his works at the beach on the way to his art classes, and realized that the world is his true 'studio.' christo and jeanne-claude certainly paved the way for this paradigm shift. the most significant contribution of their works will be to help all of us believe that the world is the greater and more significant studio or stage, and more importantly, to see that our own creative vision can directly affect landscapes and cities."
i'm currently teaching a series of classes on the theological voice of the rock band U2, and there is a similarity in that both U2 and christo create community through doing their art in a big way, in a public way, facing out towards the world. While christo and jeanne don't explicitly claim any christian motivation, as U2 clearly does, they both embody something that the church so very often doesn't do and that is seek to create community through doing something accessible and flashy and lovely out in and for the sake of the world.
too often, we do our art and lovely things inside, for our own sake, and therefore forsake the world for the safety of our 'studio.' what would it mean for us to follow the methods mako points to, of moving our christian arts of living and loving and celebrating and lamenting from inside of the studio (church) to the outside? scary? yes, and just maybe faithful, too.
anon, and +peace